Ex-STRATOVARIUS Guitarist TIMO TOLKKI: 'I Haven't Given Up Music'

Former STRATOVARIUS and current SYMFONIA guitarist/songwriter Timo Tolkki has released the following statement via his official blog:

"As I am writing this on Friday morning sipping my coffee, many thoughts and feelings enter my mind.

"Ever since I published the blog about retiring from music business, many people have contacted me and asked me not to do so. That is why I decided to clarify some things and write some more about it.

"First of all, if someone got the picture that I am blaming the fans about the current situation in music business, I am really sorry. That is not at all how I think. I cherish and thank each and everyone that have given me and my music the amazing support in good and bad times.

"Secondly there have been some criticism about my decision, even some people have called me a coward.

"I know it is hard to understand what is really going on in the business at the moment. I mean, globally, in the whole world. Not just in your city.

"The signs have been there already about 10 years and, of course, this was expected. People don't buy records anymore.

"Before you rush to say, 'But I do,' let me tell you that I have a better vantage point to the whole music business globally to say this.

"There are reasons for me to act the way I do. This is not even about the quality of music in the vein of if I make bad records and people don't want to buy them.

"It really is true that the records sales are down and are going down and more and more changes will happen and they will not be for the better. The remaining record companies are extremely careful what kind of bands and music they will sign and if they sign, they will control the music and the style very aggressively.This will result to a controlled and boring system musically and ultimately could even kill the music as a physical or digital format.

"In the times of Bach and Beethoven, there were no records. The music was only heard live. But also live music suffers from declining sales because people don't have the money to see all those 30 bands in a month that come to the city. All this made me to think really hard about my future and the next 10-15 years.

"Having worked extensively in the last 20 years, I simply think it is time to evaluate what it is that I have left to say.

"I always said that I will play as long as people want to listen. But one thing has dawned me in the last few months: it doesn't matter to me if people want to listen to my music anymore. This means the ultimate freedom musically.

"Another thing is that although I have written about retirement from music business, I haven't written about retiring from music. I believe music is a gift. And this gift must be used. But sometimes it is not easy. I believe that my 22 years in STRATOVARIUS and five CDs I have released after that, the music seminars I have held all over the world, the productions and all that goes with it are a lot. How much can you give after you have given it all?

"Anyway, I haven't given up music.

"I look at the scene and understand that I have nothing to do with what used to be so important to me, for example, when I was 30 years old.

"I believe in evolution in music and musical career. Evolution as a whole. Not picking a random record and say[ing], That sucks.' The whole body of work.

"I think that every record I ever made, has its place in the discography of my life.

"As I grow older, soon being 46, I can envision my music evolving towards goals and themes that are closer to my soul than the music I wrote when I was 32.

"I don't believe in singing about Legions of the Twilight when I am 50, but that's just me.

"I think I have a lot of music developing in me but what kind of music it is, not even I know. The future will tell, but I think you will hear from me still one day. My intuition is telling me this."

Tolkki drew up and signed an official waiver on May 20, 2008 giving up all rights to the STRATOVARIUS name. The remaining STRATOVARIUS members — Timo Kotipelto (vocals), Jens Johansson (keyboards) and Lauri Porra (bass) — have since recorded and released two additional STRATOVARIUS albums with guitarist Matias Kupiainen.


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